Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tough Trail Work

A work group from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) called he Cadillac Crew came to our local section of the Tuscarora Trail to assist with some weed whacking this past weekend.  I was not along on this particular trip, but I had been weed whacking on the Tuscarora Trail solo two weeks ago since I knew I could not join this particular effort.

My forward progress was 1/4 mile per hour.  The briars were chest high and the trail was all but impassable.  My hat is off to the Cadillac Crew members who came out to assist, because if the main through trail, the Tuscarora, is not maintained and open, then all the good work I may do to keep my feeder trail (Reese Hollow) and backpacker's shelter spiffy goes for naught.

Anyway, here's the trip report from the crew's leader.  Sounds like a struggle:

Work on the TT this past weekend almost killed a few members of our crew, myself included.

The larger contingent went up the trail from Little Cove and took a left. We worked from where it was impassible till it seemed to descend from the ridge. A few made the decent but I ran out of water and string for my string trimmer so I'm not sure how much further they got. They were beyond my hearing of their brush cutters. We all got stopped by a lack of water.

I have no idea what distance we cleared, we waffled between just clearing a path and trying to clear enough so it wouldn't have to be redone in a month...

A smaller contingent went up the Alice trail. I didn't really condone this and wanted them to come down from Hells Hill but I couldn't convince people to go up Hells Hill again after our experience last year. They cleared a few blowdowns on the Alice and felt they made good progress North on the TT from the Alice. They had a much easier time, reporting that they mainly cleared vines that were knee high vs the shoulder high thorny stuff my group was clearing.

Sunday we didn't have the energy to hike all the way out to where we stopped so we went up to Rt 16 and worked our way south. It was pretty much lawn(&fern) mowing exercise, some places the trail was totally obscured but not with anything a string trimmer couldn't take care of. We only had 4-5 people working this stretch for a half day and we didn't meet up with where they had stopped the previous day.

I understand another crew is going out this weekend, one of our guys is contacting them to let them know where we got to. I'm not in a position to have the crew go out in August, 2 trips in a row to the same area was enough, especially if the weather is similar in August as I suspect it will be. I'm looking at options for August, one option would be to pull the November work at Silberman up to August so we could go back out to the TT when the weather is less harsh and to give us a variety of work before returning to the TT.

Since Cadillac did so much work on the TT relocation, we are obviously dedicated to this trail. I think we can plan at least 1 trip a year to go do maintenance on the TT in this area since it gets so little support. It would be better to do it when the weather is more conducive to carrying tools great distances and fighting the dragons we fought this past Saturday.

We could use some more help!

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